Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bridges, Narrow Gauge and Building Flats

The last month has again been a hectic one. I had a spurt of energy that resulted in progress in three areas on the railroad. The first was my entrance to staging at the south end of Oakdale. It just went around a corner and into very visible staging tracks. I wanted to hide those a bit and give the illusion that the tracks were actually going somewhere. To that end, I set up a low view block and painted it a sky blue color. This shielded the bulk of the tracks but then I constructed some building flats that straddled the track and gives the impression that the trains are going between the buildings as they leave town.
The original tracks leaving Oakdale show cars lined up on supposedly hidden trackage.

The view block extends back to the opening in the wall for the staging tracks. The foreground area will eventually
be filled up with a roundhouse and turntable.
The finished flats with authentic Oakdale industries. Why doesn't the S&C have sidings to these plants? They were
served by the Santa Fe when it came to town around the turn of the century. Oh, well. They have interesting names.

   The second area of work centered around the future narrow gauge Stockton & Ione branch. I had to build a ramp for a quilt show in which my wife is involved so I designed it short enough so that there was enough plywood left over to provided benchwork for the S&I. While waiting for paint to dry on the background flats, I attached some supports, cut the plywood and temporarily installed it along the intended route of the line. Then I came to a pause when I realized the track layout I wanted was not really practical in the area I had.
The S&I takes off near the swinging gate on the right and proceeds over the sink toward the left. There will be a passing
siding near the right side of the photo.

After crossing the sink, the line reaches Ione City with its coal mine and depot.
Just past Ione will be the turntable and a small engine house. It will be a short run but should add some interest.
While I was mulling over the solution to that little problem, I decided to do some basic scenery around the Stanislaus River crossing. I started cutting cardboard strips and filling in the river valley with an outline. The model trestle will not be quite as long as the prototype (it will be two bents shorter) but it will a respectable length with approach trestling and two deck Howe truss bridges over the river itself. Just upstream of the railroad bridge will be a road bridge which I think looks really neat.
The prototype bridge at low water. This photo was taken from the road bridge. Oakdale is to the left.

Looking toward Oakdale, the light wood blocks will support the trestle bents. The temporary track support in the middle is about where the pier between the two deck trusses will be. The road bridge will be to the left of the railroad bridge.
Built in 1888, this bridge lasted well into the 20th century. I'm planning on using Central Valley bridge parts to make the structure.
I'm not sure how long my momentum will be kept up but I'm pleased with the progress I have made in a relatively short time.